Pyelonephritis, or a kidney infection, is caused when bacteria attacks both the kidney and its urine collecting system. It's often caused by cystitis, or bladder infections. If you believe your cat has a kidney infection take it very seriously; kidney infections can lead to kidney failure and even death. Consult your vet to get your cat the necessary antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria.
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Kidney infections can be acute or chronic. Both exhibit different symptoms. While acute kidney failure can be reversed as long as the cause is found, chronic kidney infections are harder to treat because of irreversible kidney damage. Seeking treatment at your vet's office will help ensure that acute infections are treated quickly and promptly and will help prevent chronic infections and kidney damage.
One of the first symptoms a kidney infection in a cat is frequent trips to the litter box without urinating. Others include fever, vomiting, pain in the kidney area, a stiff walk, hunched posture and blood in the urine. Any cat exhibiting these symptoms should be taken to the vet immediately. Cats suffering from chronic kidney infections exhibit signs of weight loss, pale urine, increased thirst and low energy.
Your vet will conduct a physical examination as well as running diagnostic tests. Both a urine culture and sensitivity will be taken. Sometimes a culture will be inconclusive in diagnosing a kidney infection. Ultrasounds of the kidneys and bladder also can help with diagnosis because it will show abnormalities that other tests do not. If your cat suffers from chronic infections, your vet may also want to run blood tests to consider how much damage has been done to the kidneys.
To remove the infection from your cat, your vet will most likely prescribe a course of antibiotics that may last four to six weeks. Both Clavamox/Synulox and Baytril are often prescribed. Since kidney infections are often caused by bladder crystals and current urinary infections, your vet will likely put your cat on a special urinary care food formula. Dry and moist food for urinary tract health can be found at both your local supermarket and your vet's office.
In severe cases of kidney infections, your cat may have to be hospitalised or put on both antibiotics and intravenous fluids.
Be sure to keep your cat's litter box clean. A clean box will encourage your cat to urinate often, which will help flush bacteria out before it can accumulate. Also, encourage your cat to drink frequently. If your cat is prescribed a therapeutic diet by your vet, you need to continue even after the infection has cleared.
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